Sex a Good Stress

Stress is bad for you. This truism is virtually undisputed, and for good reason. Glucocorticoids, stress hormones, and their negative effects have been studied extensively. Conditions linked with high glucocorticoid levels are extensive, and diverse: heart disease, Alzheimer’s, back pain, depression… even the common cold!

Good Stress

For this reason, researchers at Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute were surprised to discover that stress can sometimes have a positive impact on health; with one activity in particular associated with a significant increase in neurogenesis, brain growth. And what was this particular stressful but highly beneficial activity?


Love Rats

The Princeton research involved laboratory rats. The scientists found that though sexual activity increased the rats‘ glucocorticoid levels, it was also associated with an increase in hippocampal neurons, and also a reduction of exhibited anxiety behaviour. And as the frequency of sexual activity increased, glucocorticoid increases seemed to plateau, with the same benefits still obtained.

And whilst generalising these results from rodents to humans will require further research, the early conclusions look good.

Sex it seems is good stress. Despite increasing glucocorticoids, it promotes neurogenesis and mitigates anxiety. And the more sex the better, apparently!



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